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The Basics of Cutaway Embroidery Stabilizers

Stabilizers, also known as backing, are an important ingredient in embroidery. Stabilizers support the fabric that is being embroidered, and should be held along with the fabric completely in all edges of the embroidery hoop.
There are many embroidery stabilizers available, but you don’t want to use anything low-quality. You also want to use the right kind to keep your fabric as stable as possible. Fabric shifting can be the worst problem of embroidering and can easily be avoided if you choose the proper stabilizer for your fabric. Sometimes experimentation is necessary, but using the wrong kind of stabilizer can be costly.

As we mentioned in the previous post on Tearaway embroidery stabilizers, fabric shifting is a major obstacle to excellent embroidery. To avoid this, you have to choose the right type of high quality backing for your design.

What kind of backing you need depends on what you’re embroidering.

Cutaway stabilizers provide the most stability of any type of backing!


Like Tearaway backing, Cutaway backing is available in different weights: Light, Medium, and Heavy. Again, these weights determine how high the stitch count can be in your embroidery design.

Light Weight Cutaway  stabilizers are best used for heavier knits or light stitch counts. An exception is No-Show Cutaway, which will support high stitch counts within a small area.

Medium Weight Cutaways are better for stretchy fabrics like sweatshirts, pique knits, and other knits typically used in wearables.

Finally, Heavy Weight Cutaway  stabilizers are used for heavy weight fabrics with high stitch counts, like heavy fleece.


The Cutaway embroidery backing helps these fabrics hold their design details while you’re embroidering as well as after several washings. It prevents the embroidery design from sagging or stretching.

When you’re choosing a Cutaway embroidery backing, consider:

  • Compatibility with your fabric
  • Hoop & Wash Stability
  • Perforation Resistance


If you’re torn between choosing a Tearaway embroidery backing or a Cutaway embroidery backing, know that Cutaways are typically more resistant to needling perforations than Tearaway backing. Soft Tearaway is a hybrid between Tearaway and Cutaway, making it a good option for heavier, friendly knits like sweatshirts with single color or light stitch count embroidery.

When cutting your Cutaway backing, be cautious and do not cut too close to your embroidery. Use long gliding strokes with your scissors instead of short snipping motions to avoid snagging the fabric or stitches.

There are plenty more stabilizers that enhance different types of fabric, helping you embroider that perfect design! We will be featuring other types of stabilizers on this blog, so stay tuned for more!

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